Just one more pack! We check out the addictive collectible-card game feature in 2K Sports' upcoming baseball game.
Baseball cards in a baseball video game? It's about time. With the upcoming release of MLB 2K8, the developers at 2K Sports Los Angeles and Blue Castle Games have taken the time-honored tradition of baseball cards and ported them into the game in a meaningful way.
When we heard about the baseball-card feature for the first time, our thoughts turned immediately to EA Sports' UEFA Champions League 2006-2007, a rather obscure soccer game (at least here in the States) that placed a big focus on the idea of collecting player, staff, and other types of collectible cards in the game, and then fielding your custom-card-created team against other players. That's generally the idea here in this minigame for MLB 2K8 too; you earn cards, can sell duplicates or trade them online with others, and then eventually field them online against other card-based teams.
On the most basic level, earning cards is as simple as playing the regular game and completing specific tasks with various players in your lineup. These can run from the relatively mundane (get a save with Cubs closer Ryan Dempster) to ridiculously hard (such as hitting for the cycle). Player cards come in three value tiers: black, gold, and platinum, with the platinum cards being the most valuable (and rarest) and while you'll always earn at least a black-tiered player card when you complete a challenge, playing at a higher difficulty level will increase the odds of you earning a gold or platinum version of the player card after you've completed the challenge
So what makes a gold or platinum card so valuable in MLB 2K8? The challenge/value ratio works in an interesting way. Your ultimate goal in the game is to build the strongest team you can using player cards you collect along the way. However, to build a team, you have to abide by a few rules that set the number of players you can have in a team (25), the number of required starting pitchers (5), the number of bullpen pitchers (less than 4), and, most importantly, a salary cap ($125 million). This salary cap is important because each player card comes with a salary expenditure required to add that player to your team. The gold and platinum value cards feature the same players with the same abilities and stats as your typical black card; however, the crucial difference is that a platinum-card player's salary is going to be much lower than the "black" version of the same card. As a result, and somewhat ironically, the more valuable player cards actually end up being "cheaper" when it comes to your card team's overall bottom line.
One thing you quickly find out in 2K8 is that playing in franchise mode is not the ideal way to earn cards, given that sticking with your favorite team will let you build up a roster only of that team's players. If you want to get more cards for other players in the league, you're going to need to be playing with a bunch of different major-league teams. In addition, you can't earn cards when simulating or managing a game (which, we'll admit, we like to do for a good portion of our nondivision games in franchise mode). It makes sense that you can't earn the best cards without actually playing the games yourself, but it would be nice to see you get some sort of recognition of effort for at least managing your team through a victory.
In addition to player cards, there are other types of collectible cards in MLB 2K8, including wild cards, team cards, and cards that will unlock things such as retro uniforms and different stadiums. Wild cards can be earned by winning games or completing particularly difficult plays; your chances for earning wild cards increase depending on the rarity of a particular play and on the difficulty setting. Wild cards can turn out to be either single cards or packs, so they're always a treat to have. Some cards, such as team cards, are available only via packs that you purchase with credits earned by selling back duplicate cards you don't want.
All of your cards will be kept in an in-game album that you can flip through, and the album is organized by team, NL and AL All-Stars, living legends, rookie classes reaching back to 1996-97, jerseys, stadiums, specials, duplicates, favorites, wish list, tradables, and new cards. You'll also be able to check out the collections of other players online and trade cards with them. Though you won't be able to formally wager cards when playing a game online (the MLB frowns on this kind of in-game betting), there's nothing stopping you from an informal gentleman's agreement, right?
In all, tapping into the baseball-card nut residing in practically every MLB fan looks like an innovative way to extend the fun in 2K8 and, with downloadable card packs (and additional card challenges) on the way after the release of the game, it seems to be a fine way to keep the game relevant well into the 2008 baseball season. For more on the collectible-card feature in MLB 2K8, check out SportsGamer's preview here here.
Only thing i can see wrong with this game , is the graphics look out dated, they are using the same game engine they have used for the past 5 years.
Who the hell writes this stuff, "addictive card collecting game"? Who the hell fires up a game of baseball to collect fake cards?
I've been a 2k baseball fan for a long time, but was just recently given a PS3. I played MLB The Show demo and unless 2K brings it this year I will be converting over!! The fact that they haven't released a demo (like in previous years) by this time tells me that they don't have much confidence in their game. 2K...LEAVE THE CARD STUFF TO TOPPS AND CONCENTRATE ON A GOOD GAME!!!!!!!!
if I want cards I"ll go to a sports collective store and buy the real thing,you know..the ones made out of cardboard lol? don't know much about the gameplay ,hopefully the PSN will get a demo soon.but right now, MLB 08 The Show looks superb and is probably going to be one of the best baseball games in a while.
Who cares about the stupid cards! We want gameplay! AND, I'm thinking they're releasing the demo day of the release of the game because they don't want people playing it ahead of time, only to find out the game engine is exactly the same! Mark my words, this game is 2K7 with a pretty new outer layer. ...ahem, if by the way I'm wrong, I'll formally apologize.
Wow. Fake baseball cards. I guess this passes for innovation nowadays. Madden did that, too ... like five years ago. :|
Well I can't see what the fuss is. Having to play with a ton of different teams would suck. The whole point of sports simulation games is franchise mode. Exhibition games have absolutely no purpose... I'll definitely love this game (for franchise, assuming it's better than 2k6's), but I don't see what card collecting has to offer.
Hopefully this will work sort of like MLB Showdown becuase as a kid that card game was the best hands down!
uh...I just want a better baseball game 2K. I havn't played the Show I heard it's better...I'll try both of them see which one I like better. 2K7 had some bullcrap things like...GM Mode it was SO hard to get out of debt and make + income not just me though every freaking team. the Yankees especially how can you pay A-Rod or Jeter 200M! Nobody even Hank Aaron or the Babe is worth 200M! Ah, but I rant...2K8 will be good if they fix the flaws...if not I hope the Show is better.
Sounds like the reviewer isn't familiar with the genre, MLB Power Pros has been out for months and it has baseball cards. Unfortunately a lot of people looked past that amazing title because of the "kiddie" graphics style, and missed out on a great game with a lot of statistical depth and replay value.
i'm hoping so much for this game....there still hasn't been a great baseball simulation since MVP Baseball 2005... so i'm hoping 2K has taken everything they got close with last year and fine tuning it to make it a great baseball simulation with mlb 2K8
I would bet this is more appealing to people in my age range (late twenties-early thirties). Baseball cards were a big part of my youth, so the nostalgia factor is definitely there. And as an avid fantasy baseball player, I'm looking forward to putting my assembled cards up against others in "battle".
this adds a somewhat interesting aspect to the game, but i personally (as well as others, i think) won't really catch on and will just play for game, not the cards
Awesome! This brings something new and interesting to the overall bland genre of baseball video games.
I would rather they spend time and development $$ fixing issues and making the game FUN to play rather then a game within a game. I don't mind collecting BB cards in real life, just don't want to do it in a video game.
Looks interesting, when i first saw it i thought it would be like madden cards, but this looks much cooler. #2!!!!!!!
- Release Date: Mar 3, 2008 (US)
- ESRB: ETitles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older.